THE Bayelsa State Government has approved a total of N8.316 billion to settle the arrears of 36 months’ allowances owed former councillors of the Local Government Councils who served from 2013 to 2016.
The state deputy governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, directed the chairmen of the eight local government councils to commence payment of the arrears in instalments no later than August this year.
This was contained in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi.
He was said to have given the directive during a meeting with the local government chairmen and representatives of the Restoration Councillors’ Forum in Government House, Yenagoa.
The 105 councillors served their various councils during the tenure of the immediate past governor of the state, Seriake Dickson, who is representing Bayelsa West at the National Assembly.
He noted that each of the councillors was owed N2.2m for three years and would be paid a monthly instalment of N100,000 each in the months ahead.
According to him, the decision was jointly agreed upon after careful consideration of the current financial position of the various councils by the government and the Mrs Ebiere Igodo-Adeh Committee, which looked into the councillors’ claims and made recommendations in its report.
He, however, noted that the N100,000, which was also endorsed by the council chairmen, would be increased to N200,000 any month the councils received improved allocations to shorten the repayment period.
Ewhrudjakpo, who faulted some of the monetary claims presented by the councillors, noted that slight adjustments were made as available records revealed that some of them had been overpaid before leaving office.
The deputy governor said, “We have agreed that we start the payment with N100,000 to each councillor for each month because of the resources available to the councils.
“We have gone through the records. The first thing we want to correct is the amount some of you declared as an outstanding allowance. We discovered that what some of you declared was not the right amount, so that has been adjusted.”
Responding on behalf of the councillors, Mr Believe Ezekiel, expressed appreciation to Governor Douye Diri-led administration and the council chairmen for their prompt response and show of understanding towards their plight.